Prevalence of trachoma in the Republic of Chad: results of 41 population-based surveys
Purpose: To estimate the prevalence of trachoma in suspected-endemic areas of Chad, and thereby determine whether trachoma is a public health problem requiring intervention.
Methods: We divided the suspected-endemic population living in secure districts into 46 evaluation units (EUs), and used the standardized methodologies of the Global Trachoma Mapping Project. A two-stage cluster-sampling procedure was adopted. In each EU, the goal was to examine at least 1019 children aged 1–9 years by recruiting 649 households; all consenting residents aged ≥ 1 year living in those households were examined. Each participant was examined for trachomatous inflammation—follicular (TF), trachomatous inflammation—intense (TI), and trichiasis.
Results: Two EUs had data that could not be validated, and were excluded from the analysis. GPS data for three other pairs of EUs suggested that EU divisions were inaccurate; data for each pair were combined within the pair. In the 41 resulting EUs, 29,924 households in 967 clusters were visited, and 104,584 people were examined. The age-adjusted EU-level prevalence of TF in 1–9-year-olds ranged from 0.0% to 23.3%, and the age- and gender-adjusted EU-level prevalence of trichiasis in ≥ 15-year-olds ranged from 0.02% to 1.3%. TF was above the WHO elimination threshold in 16 EUs (39%) and trichiasis was above the WHO elimination threshold in 29 EUs (71%). Women had a higher prevalence of trichiasis than did men in 31 EUs (76%). A higher ratio of trichiasis prevalence in women to trichiasis prevalence in men was associated (p = 0.03) with a higher prevalence of trichiasis at EU level.
Conclusion: Public health-level interventions against trachoma are needed in Chad. Over 10,000 people need management of their trichiasis; women account for about two-thirds of this total. The association between a higher ratio of trichiasis prevalence in women to that in men with higher overall trichiasis prevalence needs further investigation.